Lisa Kudrow had trouble remembering how to play “Smelly Cat” for the Friends reunion, but it’s not her fault.
The 57-year-old actress stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday, June 4, as seen in preview footage. During the visit, Lisa discussed HBO Max’s buzzy Friends reunion, and specifically her duet with Lady Gaga for Phoebe’s feline-centric signature song, which was among the special’s many highlights.
The Booksmart star explained that she never plays guitar in her personal life, so she essentially hadn’t picked up the instrument since the wildly popular NBC sitcom signed off in 2004 after 10 seasons. For that reason, she realized she was quite foggy on the “Smelly Cat” chords after she was informed she would need to perform it at the reunion with the “Born This Way” singer.
“That was great,” Lisa said about getting to team up with Gaga. “I was really nervous when I first heard that. And then I prepared—I realized I had to learn ‘Smelly Cat’ again. And I tuned my guitar and then realized I don’t know the chords.”
As for how she figured it out, the star added, “But I googled it. All the chords were there for ‘Smelly Cat.'” When host Ellen DeGeneres expressed her surprise at this, Lisa replied, “Yeah! Thank you, world, for posting the chords.”
The Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion performer went on to reveal she was initially so nervous to perform with Lady Gaga that her throat temporarily closed up on her.
“I was so panicked, I couldn’t get anything out,” she admitted with a laugh. “I didn’t know what was going to happen. But it worked out.”
Lisa also shared that Gaga “really almost made me cry” when the Oscar winner thanked the Friends alum for creating a character who encouraged viewers to embrace their differences. Lisa also discussed the impact that the pop star’s music had on the actress’ now-23-year-old son Julian, who she was expecting in real life during Phoebe’s pregnancy story line.
“Coming from her—because my son was in grade school, all the kids were listening to Lady Gaga, and her whole message was, everyone be yourself and just be you,” Lisa recalled. “That was amazing.”
Watch the interview in the above video, and be grateful for the neutral-scented animals in your life.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)